An accused murderer has handed over his life's savings and millions of dollars from liquidated real estate holdings as part of a settlement with the family of a Newport Beach doctor he allegedly shot to death in January of last year.
The agreement effectively ends civil litigation between the victim's family and Stanwood Elkus, 76, of Lake Elsinore, who is accused of killing Ronald Gilbert, a prominent urologist, in his Hoag Hospital-affiliated office. Elkus must still face criminal charges.
A lawyer for Gilbert's family declined to reveal an exact dollar figure for the payout, but much of the lawsuit centered on eight properties Elkus owned in Riverside and Orange counties worth about $2 million to $3 million.
"Basically the defendant's entire net worth was transferred to the family," said attorney Edward Susolik, who represented Gilbert's wife and two sons in the wrongful-death action.
The family's lawsuit said Elkus had intended to dodge civil penalties by giving away his properties to relatives.
He transferred one of eight properties he owned to his sister less than a week after Gilbert's death, Susolik said.
In April, an Orange County Superior Court judge barred Elkus from transferring any of his other seven real estate holdings until the lawsuit was resolved.
Those seven properties were ultimately liquidated as part of the settlement, with the proceeds transferred to the family in a process that was completed within the past few weeks, Susolik said.
"Nothing will bring back the family's husband and father, but it does give a sense of justice to the family to have the civil case conclude successfully," Susolik said.
Three lawyers listed in court records as representing Elkus in the civil case either declined to comment or did not return calls Tuesday.
Susolik contends Elkus settled because he had no defense against the obvious facts of the case.
The family's March 2013 filing described Gilbert death.
Elkus allegedly waited in an examination room after a nurse took his blood pressure and then shot Gilbert multiple times in the torso when the doctor entered.
When Gilbert's partner came into the exam room after hearing the shots, Elkus claimed to be insane and admitted to shooting the doctor, according to the lawsuit. He then allegedly waited there for police to arrive and arrest him.
In a jailhouse interview with the Daily Pilot, Elkus said he was angry about a surgery performed years ago that left him with prostate problems.
Susolik previously said Gilbert never treated Elkus but did work at a Veterans Affairs facility where the alleged killer had received treatment from an associate.
Elkus is due back in criminal court later this month, when he faces a murder charge with sentencing enhancements for use of a firearm and lying in wait for a victim.